CHAPTER 3

 

TESTOSTERONE – THE FUCK IT/KILL IT BIOHAZARD

 

 

The empiricist...thinks he believes only what he sees, but he is much better at believing

than at seeing.

–George Santayana, Skepticism and Animal Faith

 

 

Man is no longer the only animal documented to hunt and kill its own kind. Over the past twenty years, chimpanzees have been observed hunting and killing other chimpanzees and monkeys with savage gusto[i]. The common denominator between man and chimp appears to be the male hormone testosterone, with its similar effect on the genetically comparable human and simian nervous systems.

 One has only to reflect on the calming effect of castration on both the male sex drive and violence to understand the role that testosterone plays in both sex and violence. Richard Wrangham, professor of biological anthropology at Harvard University, and his co-author, Dale Peterson note in Demonic Males that the shoulders and biceps of male humans, much like the canines of many primates, appear to be a result of natural selection for sex and the violence associated with both hunting and defending territory.[ii] Bodybuilders who use testosterone to make their muscles grow have been known to go berserk on occasion. This violent behavior is commonly thought to be due to the presence of too much testosterone.

            In his groundbreaking book, A Brief History of Everything, Ken Wilbur describes testosterone as an evolutionary “fuck it/kill it tool.” He notes that when women have been administered testosterone injections they will often tell researchers that they can’t stop thinking about sex and request that this aspect of the experiment be terminated. Wilber also notes that men can unconsciously fuse the appetite for sex with the appetite for violence. If you will take a moment to think about this, you will realize how our colorful use of invective expresses this fusion of meaning very clearly. You have no doubt heard the common expression, “We fucked them over good,” to indicate death and destruction, or at the very least, violence inflicted upon an enemy.

 

            These two activities–fucking and killing–and the appetites associated with them–sexual desire and violence–may be abbreviated with the acronym FIKI (Fuck It–Kill It) and will be referred to throughout this book. FIKI is an extreme product of the energy of the Appetite Survival System as it merges with some of the bio-chemical impulses of testosterone. Even if you are a soldier or fighter in frequent combat, it is important to be very aware of the negative consequences of FIKI. You must be careful not to lose your humanity with casual violence. It is amusing to note, however, that men may spend the first half of their lives fighting the negative effects of testosterone and the second half trying to recover some of the vitality that waning testosterone levels no longer provide.

            At the same time, it is important to emphasize that violence and desire are frequently on the same energy spectrum, despite the presence or absence of testosterone. This is as true for moderate individuals in loving relationships as it is for the depraved and the perverted who abuse others–it is all a question of degree and where you draw what might be called the “Shadow Line.” Intense sexual activity or connections change our pain-pleasure thresholds, so that some measure of sado-masochistic activity is simply natural to arousal. “Rough sex,” bondage, exploration of fantasies, all comes with the biological territory but not all of these impulsive activities can be attributed solely to the presence of testosterone. Testosterone is simply a biological tool that your life force uses to express and protect itself. There are, however, many negative ways your life force’s ASS can seek to manifest its basic energy, if it is not properly directed. The intemperate cross the Shadow Line and dwell there; healthy individuals may flirt with it in moments of sheer fun in concert with their partners. You will explore this in Chapter 17, “Flirting with FIKI.”

FIKI evolved as an instinct to protect the species, but at present FIKI constitutes a threat to the life force itself. It is possible for the life energy of the individual to get so connected to the negative aspects of the Appetite Survival System and its offspring FIKI that very little human development is possible. We see this is in many parts of the world (the Balkans, Northern Ireland, Cambodia, the Middle East, America’s inner cities, and parts of Africa come to mind) where armed groups of young men fueled by testosterone and socially unregulated appetites hunt each other like rabid dogs in mini-wars over drugs, territory, and women. The life force is in danger in these places because a transformation has occurred whereby its energy is diverted from productive activity, and instead becomes high-octane fuel for the ASS. Men become ASSES or Appetite Survival System Errors. The ASS is a major source of human demons when FIKI is involved.

Excessive indulgence affects different people in different ways. The consumption of too much alcohol, for instance, makes some people happy, some sad and others, violent. An unmonitored ASS can make you lazy, thickheaded or violent. Observe yourself after episodes of excess, and work hard to overcome the problems that may have been generated.

 

Addiction and Habit

Those who have not been swallowed up by the Appetite Survival System may suffer from lesser variations on the theme of FIKI, which are still basically bad or misdirected appetites. Addiction, for example, is the negative image of good habits. Addiction is “the devotion and surrender to something habitually or obsessively.” Addiction is, in a sense, the kind of flattery that bad behavior pays to good habits. It imitates the root activity of excellence by choosing the repetition associated with good habits, but the repetition is rooted not in what is best, but in what is most immediate in terms of gratification. The root of the word addiction comes from the Latin addicere, which means, “to favor.” Favor what? It means that you favor what your ASS wants. If you allow your ASS to do your thinking for you, addictive behavior can be the result. Your life force’s ASS prefers well-worn paths and solid, predictable results for its pleasure seeking. Your ASS will convince you that you have no choice because it is not in the interest of your ASS that you have a choice! Mass murder and modern day cannibal, Jeffrey Dahmer, and others like him have lost sight of where their appetites might be taking them. Your ASS will not tell you where it is going–that is up to you to observe and determine.

We must discover and question aberrant habits the life force may have established in its quest for balance. The ASS does what you let it do! If your life energy cannot have what it needs for development, it will spill over into channels where it does not belong. If you do not cultivate good habits, your ASS will cultivate bad habits! Your ASS wants something to do. If you do not find something useful for it to do, it will find something useless to do. Your life force’s ASS is the motor force behind all habits. It will work for you like a donkey if you train it but if you fail to discipline it with good habits, your ASS will be your adversary.

 

The Pleasures of Self-Restraint             

As Sigmund Freud notes, the search for pleasure is basic to all human endeavors. We automatically ascribe a value to whatever we do. Unfortunately, Freud failed to emphasize that there is also a pleasure to be found in exercising self-control or seeking what might be described in moral terms as good. The Greek philosopher Epicurus noted this two hundred years before the birth of Christ. He insisted that the performance of moral duties could bring the highest sort of pleasure because they brought the greatest possible good into an individual’s life. Psychologists call this delayed gratification, which is a phrase now sadly stripped of its moral significance.            

How can self-restraint bring as much, or more pleasure as plunging your bone into a quivering moist receptacle, or stuffing yourself with lip-smacking food? The pleasure of self-restraint may be more subtle but its effects are often more profound and satisfying than immediate physical gratification. For instance, when you exercise, there is an initial difficulty in overcoming the natural resistance of the body to self-inflicted pain, but after a while, the deep satisfaction of both the physical discipline, and the results of a more powerful and contented body, more than compensate for the initial discomfort.

            What is “good,” in this instance, is really a kind of psychic currency, whereby we become richer in the energies necessary to lead a productive life. What is “bad” might be likened to a currency deficit, whereby the energy of the life force is constantly being released but not replenished. Evil is deficit spending of psychic currency. The moral checkbook requires psychic currency. Have you checked your balance lately?

 

Butt-Crack Ideology

  There are basically two kinds of pleasure. One is short-term such as eating and drinking, sleeping, emoting, evacuating your bowels, urinating, farting, belching, talking with friends, picking your nose, scratching an itch, drug taking, ejaculating, playing various games and so on. The other is long-term and involves pleasures that take time to cultivate, such as the crafting of buildings and careers, attending school or even preparing and planning a gourmet meal. These are pleasures that may require effort to attain. The Greeks called this kind of effort virtue as it involved acting in accordance with what they called right reason. Right reason is another way of talking about what really works for you, as opposed to what doesn’t work. It means that what you are thinking or planning is in conformity with the highest rational levels of who you really are. When this is done consistently and over time, it becomes a good habit or a virtue. Today, we might also describe virtue as habitual excellence, or right action that gets right results.[iii]  It is life force management that puts money or capital energy into your psychic bank–and it feels very wholesome. Vice is exactly the opposite; it takes money out of your psychic bank. It is a set of bad habits and actions that delivers the wrong results.

Psychologists, often refer to virtue as delayed gratification, which is a term that lacks any sort of moral connotation and leads to the unfortunate conclusion that delayed gratification is purely relative to whatever other appetites you happen to be having. This is known as moral relativism, and is based on the idea that there are no objectively valid standards of behavior that can deliver good results for human beings. From the perspective of moral relativism, nothing can or should supercede whatever it is that you subjectively decide you want. This is an ideology your ASS is comfortable with. Moral relativism is butt-crack ideology and no matter what color your ASS is, this ideology has the moral depth of toilet paper.

            There are three kinds of virtue or habitual excellence that oppose the subjective ideology of your ASS and can help you to manage your dick. There are intellectual habits, such as wisdom, which come from cultivating the power of the intellect; moral habits, such as courage and patience, which come from developing the power of the will; and spiritual habits that come from accepting the dictates of spirit. Spiritual virtues such as faith, hope and love are beyond the scope of this book, but you should remember that all the virtues or habitual excellences of life energy management are on a continuum–one will lead sooner or later, conceptually to the other–unless discouraged by the spiritually confused.

 

Your Ass and Death

  The relationship of Thanatos, the Freudian death instinct, to pleasure and sexuality is murky but subjectively measurable. Are there not many things we might do in a moment of anger or excitement that could result in both our deaths and the deaths of others? The man who kills his spouse when he finds her cheating with another man may be overwhelmed with the desire to seek vengeance. The satisfaction of this thirst for vengeance and the need to slake his anger could hardly be described as painful. On the other side of the coin, outdoor enthusiasts who climb dangerous mountains or race car drivers competing in high speed road tournaments take pleasure in their accomplishments, despite the fact that they may be flirting with death. The closer we examine the matter, the more it appears that the relationship of pain to pleasure, and excitement to death is on a very curious continuum. There is a kind of flirtation with death that can be very exciting for some of us.

We frequently enjoy painful things even though we may regret them later. Competitive sports and contests can be very painful to participate in but that does not stop us from going all out. The greater the danger, the greater the thrill of victory. Does this sort of compulsive seeking of victory at almost any price remind you of FIKI?

Your life force’s ASS connects with FIKI as a potential solution in the presence of any obstacle or threat–almost before you can stop it. The expression, “fuck it, let’s do it,” is indicative of this kind of frontal assault on reality. Your ancient reptilian Appetite Survival System, however, is untroubled by any associated moral questions; to it, a solution is a solution, and its solutions are very, very simple. Your ASS wants whatever is in its way, or bothering it, to get out of the way, or simply stop being there. This is why some individuals do irrational things when they are threatened. The irrational reptilian response to ALL threats is to fight, fuck, eat or run from them; there is no middle ground. Therefore, you must be extremely careful about letting your ASS go to the House of his good friend FIKI. If you let your ASS go into this house too often, you will become a very bad human being indeed. Do not go there; the House of Death and Destruction is full of misery and unhappiness.

We might also suggest that the fusion[iv] of the death instinct and Eros in FIKI that the modern philosopher Ken Wilbur points to, isolates and enhances the energy available to your ASS by excluding ASS-reducing activity such as sublimation. Sublimation is a volitional act (sometimes conscious, sometimes not) that converts the expression of an instinctual desire or impulse into other forms of satisfaction. The sublimation of anger and annoyance, for example, can transform these emotions into patience and self-restraint. Sublimation is not just about sex, it is learning how to shift the gears of the appetites and the will in a productive and even fun way. Without the natural buffering activity of sublimation, the Appetite Survival System can reign supreme and intellectual development can be left, so to speak, at the door of the 4F Club. Welcome to the world of mindless impulses. Was there another drive by shooting in your neighborhood, or the senseless murder of a neighbor or friend? You do not have to look very far for the culprits. The intellectual parents of all criminals are those who pretend that what you do with your dick is morally neutral.  

What kind of moral values, for example, would allow the international community to stand by while the Nazis butchered Jews and other innocents during World War II–or when Stalin and Mao butchered their millions for the sake of an insane ideology? What kind of moral compass was at work in 1994 when the United States ignored over 800,000 killings that took place over 100 days in Rwanda? The United States is a signatory to the Genocide Treaty, which stipulates that in the event of genocide, force must be used by the treaty members to restore order. Rwanda had no oil and so they could not expect the royal treatment accorded Kuwait in the Gulf War, but what did the United States do? The State Department deliberately and coldly dithered over the meaning of genocide, so they would not be required to send in the troops. Those in power knew full well what was happening, and will no doubt go to their graves with a secret shame–that is, if they wake up to their humanity.

            What is the link between what you do with your dick and the toleration of evils such as these? What is the relationship between your life energy and the ability to make sound moral decisions? Can your ASS and your dick consume moral capital? If energy is like money think carefully about those actions that might take you into moral bankruptcy. It will vary for each one of us, but rest assured that both virtue and vice are growth industries in the hinterland of your being.

Do ASS-managed dicks, in positions of political or economic power, reason or care anymore than your dick does when it’s hard? No. So think carefully about the meaning of the words “dickhead” and “butthead” when they are applied to presidents and politicians. What they do with their dicks does indeed matter very much. Someone’s life may depend on it.

 

 

 

Konrad Lorenz [in his book, On Aggression] agreed with earlier ethologists [scientists who do objective studies of animal behavior] that animals used aggression to optimize population density, accumulate and defend resources, and protect themselves and their young. But Lorenz emphasized that aggression was not simply a response to an instinct but was itself an innate, driving force... “it is the spontaneity of the instinct that makes it so dangerous.” In Lorenz’s eyes, aggression was not an aversion but an appetite–and a ravenous one at that. Humans were not only born bad, but born helpless, at the mercy of a killer instinct that bubbled up from a dark corner of the mind like oil and that needed only the match of some trivial insult to ignite. Contained for too long, it would combust spontaneously. The fragile defenses of ritual, culture, and morality were barely a match for this seething flood of instinctive rage.

–Debra Niehoff, Ph.D., The Biology of Violence: How Understanding the Brain, Behavior, and Environment Can Break the Vicious Circle of Aggression

 

 

 

MANAGEMENT TIPS

 

  • Managing your Appetite Survival System requires leverage. Think of virtue as a crowbar for your ASS.

  • Testosterone declines by one percent a year, once males reach their peak of sexual maturity sometime in their twenties. The cooler heads commonly attributed to older men is not based just on experience, but on more manageable levels of testosterone.

 

  • Testosterone levels peak in men sometime between midnight and the early morning hours. That is one reason you may wake up with an erection, and it is a good reason to have sex at night, if you find sexual activity depletes your mental energy. Your juices are restored overnight.

  • The next time you feel yourself becoming angry for no good reason, think of yourself as “assuming the reptile.”

 

·        Sublimation is something that you actually have to do. You cannot covert instinctual energy into other forms of satisfaction without resisting the impulse to begin with.



END NOTES

 

[i] Wrangham, Richard and Peterson, Dale (1996), Demonic Males, Mariner Books, New York

 

[ii]Those males who get to mate with more females by killing other competing males and successfully defending territories against predators (while producing progeny) are the ones whose genes and secondary sexual characteristics survive in their descendents. If this form of Natural Selection is true, and as Wrangham and Peterson note, we may have millions of years of violent behavior backing up our genes. (Wrangham, Richard and Peterson, Dale (1996), Demonic Males, Mariner Books, New York)

 

[iii] Wetherill, Richard (1906-1989), Alpha Publishing House, Wetherill Enterprises

 

[iv] Wilbur, Ken (1996), A Brief History of Everything, Shambhala, Boston

 

 

 

Chapter 1 Chapter 3 Chapter 16 Chapter 24 Chapter 29 Chapter 35